From Volume 5 Number 2 (print edition only)

JAKARTA, Indonesia: Kun Gantari recalled the moment her second son Furqon was born 10 years ago, and the days she raised her baby.
            She remembered how responsive Furqon was in his first months. “He always looked at the camera when someone was about to take a picture of him. I remembered how he responded when I taught him how to clap and wave his hands,” the mother of two said.
              Furqon appeared to be a normal child until he turned eight months old. Then he had a high fever. “After he recovered from his sickness, I began to feel he was not normal,” said his mother.
            Gantari compared Furqon’s growth with that of her first child, who was born 22 months before Furqon. “When my mother came over to the house one day, she wondered why her grandson was no longer friendly with people he met and why he became angry easily.”
            Her psychologist friend recommended she see a prominent specialist, who ended up diagnosing her 22-month-old son with autism.
One week later, her husband and her found a therapy clinic for autistic children and enrolled their son there. But after two years of therapy without seeing any improvements in their son's condition, the couple then decided to quit the therapy sessions and hired two therapists instead, to treat their son from home.
            “A mother knows what is best for her son, so I decided to take care of him myself with the help of our therapists,” said Gantari.
            A year later, Furqon’s condition improved and he was soon able to communicate. The couple then decided to send their son to school. “We tried to enrol him in several playgroups and kindergartens, but none of them were willing to accept our son,”  said Gantari, holding back her tears.
            Luckily, she received a call from Mandiga School - a special school for autistic children - letting her know Furqon could finally join it.
            “I really feel the ups and downs of raising a child that has special needs. I have shed so many tears, but now I feel I have finally born the fruits after years of struggling. And I am very grateful my husband and the whole family have always supported us during these hard times,” she added.
            Ane, Kristopher Agatha’s stepmother, also shared bittersweet memories of raising her autistic 12-year-old son. Kristov, as he is usually called, is her husband’s first child, whom she started to raise in March 2007.
            “His condition was saddening. He looked healthy from the outside, but his body was full of wounds and allergies. He often bit his own fingers and arms every time he got angry,” said Ane. Not only would he hurt himself, but he would also attack people around him when relapsing, she said.
            She was also sad to find that Kristov’s nurses, who had been treating her son at the house for seven years, often tied his hands and legs even when he was calm.
            She and her husband enrolled Kristov in a therapy centre in North Jakarta and consulted a psychiatrist, but their son was still was still not showing signs of improvement.
            “But we were committed to fighting for our son’s condition to improve, no matter what,” Ane said.
            During the next months, they moved Kristov to another therapy centre in South Jakarta, and their son’s condition finally improved, although sometimes he is still emotionally unstable.
            The couple also enrolled Kristov in therapy sessions for autistic children at school, regular counselling with doctors and psychologists, on top of giving him diet and food supplements.
            "”Kristov also swims, paints and does athletics. We encourage him to socialise,” Ane said.
            Natasha Rita Selly, a housewife living in Bekasi, did not need a diagnosis from a specialist to confirm that her seven-year-old son, Muhammad Malakalhaq, had autism.
            She and her husband simply looked after their son at home for around two years after Muhammad began to show symptoms of the disorder. “When my son was four years old, he began to show symptoms of autism. He did not talk and lived in an imaginary world,” Natasha said. “But we were living in a rural area in Pekalongan at that time, so it was hard to find a therapy centre. We just treated him as best we could.”
            After the family moved to Bekasi, Muhammad joined a therapy clinic at Yayasan Cahaya Keluarga Kita in Jatiasih, where his condition improved very rapidly. He is now able to read, count and communicate.
            While most mothers are devastated when finding out their children are different, Chandra Dewi seemed to be much tougher when she discovered her son, Alit, now 16 years old, was autistic at the age of five.
            Alit began finding it difficult to communicate when he turned two. When Dewi brought him to a children’s clinic, specialists said her son’s ability to talk and socialise meant he was simply slow.
            “We enrolled him in a standard playgroup and kindergarten. Actually, we didn’t really treat him in any special way and just raised him as a normal child. If other children can do many things by themselves, why can’t he?”
            Alit enjoys learning music, cooking, making handicrafts, computers and reciting the Koran, and is good at those things too, Dewi said. He also improved his socialising skills and adaptation to a new environment.
            Now that all these mothers have come to grips with their children’s special needs, as well as made many plans for their future, they suggested some tips for other parents of autistic children.
            “The most important thing is for Alit to be able to survive on his own and that he does not always depend on me,” Dewi said.  She encouraged parents to be more accepting, no matter what was the condition of their children.
            For her part, Gandari declared: “I want Furqon to be able to look after himself by using his skills. We are now looking for an area in which he excels, so that we can focus on it for his future.”

Looking Up, 16-page English PDF Edition, Back Issues and Current Issue

Looking Up, Volume 5 Number 1 PDF edition front cover Looking Up, Volume 5 Number 2 PDF edition front cover Looking Up, Volume 5 Number 3 PDF edition front cover Looking Up, Volume 5 Number 4 PDF edition front cover
Looking Up, Volume 5 Number 5 PDF edition front cover Looking Up, Volume 5 Number 6 PDF edition front cover Looking Up, Volume 5 Number 7 PDF edition front cover Looking Up, Volume 5 Number 8 PDF edition front cover

Current 40-page print edition issue
Current print edition of Looking Up


Email (general enquiries):Info@lookingupautism.org
Email (subscription/order enquiries):    Subscriptions@lookingupautism.org
Postal address:Looking Up, PO Box 25727, London, SW19 1WF, UK
Telephone (London, UK):+44-208-5427702, or 0208-5427702 from the UK
FAX (UK):+44-871-3140327, or 0871-3140327 from the UK
Our Home Page:http://www.lookingupautism.org

Search our autism pages

VOLUME 1, Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12   VOLUME 2, Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
VOLUME 3, Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12   VOLUME 4, Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
VOLUME 5, Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and would like to know your options in relation to·not having this information used by these companies, click here.

Copyright declaration

Materials available from these web pages are copyright © AFPublications.org unless otherwise stated.